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Adams v. Zatecky

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

December 8, 2014

ERIC ADAMS, Petitioner,
v.
ZATECKY, Respondent.

ENTRY ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

TANYA WALTON PRATT, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Eric Adams ("Mr. Adams"), an inmate in the Indiana Department of Correction, challenging a prison disciplinary proceeding identified as ISR XX-XX-XXXX. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Adams' petition must be DENIED.

I. DISCUSSION

A. Standard

Prisoners in Indiana custody may not be deprived of good-time credits, Cochran v. Buss, 381 F.3d 637, 639 (7th Cir. 2004) (per curiam), or of credit-earning class, Montgomery v. Anderson, 262 F.3d 641, 644-45 (7th Cir. 2001), without due process. The due process requirement is satisfied with the issuance of advance written notice of the charges, a limited opportunity to present evidence to an impartial decision maker, a written statement articulating the reasons for the disciplinary action and the evidence justifying it, and "some evidence in the record" to support the finding of guilt. Superintendent, Mass. Corr. Inst. v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985); Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 570-71 (1974).

B. The Disciplinary Hearing

On December 14, 2014, Correctional Officer Zachery Klinge wrote a Report of Conduct in case ISR XX-XX-XXXX charging Mr. Adams with Class B offense #207, Possession of Electronic Device. The Report of Conduct states:

On the above date and approximate time I officer Z. Klinge conducted a cell search of cell 13-4A in H-cellhouse. Prior to me searching, officer B. Ferguson and his K-9 Port, searched the cell. Ferguson advised that Port seemed interested in the light fixture inside the cell. I used the shakedown tool kit to remove the light fixture. Inside the light fixture I found a cell phone charger. Using the tool kit I removed the cable cord cover from the wall and found a tattoo gun with a bottle of black ink behind the cover. While searching the offenders [sic] property locker I found a black pouch altered from offender shorts and a book with a square cut out of it.

The Report of Conduct also indicates that the physical evidence was "[t]aken to the DO and placed in locker #307." Id. The Notice of Confiscated Property indicates that one red address book, one black cloth pouch, one cell phone charger, one tattoo gun with ink, and one book with a square cut out were confiscated and placed in locker #307. On December 17, 2013, Mr. Adams was notified of the charge of offense #207 and served with the Report of Conduct and the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing Screening Report. Mr. Adams was notified of his rights and pled not guilty. Mr. Adams did not request any witnesses or physical evidence.

On December 18, 2013, a hearing officer found Mr. Adams guilty of offense #207. The Report of Disciplinary Hearing indicates that Mr. Adams refused a hearing and requested to go straight to disciplinary segregation. In making the determination of guilt, the hearing officer considered staff reports, evidence from witnesses, and physical evidence, including photographs.

Based on the hearing officer's recommendations the following sanctions were imposed: a written reprimand, three months of disciplinary segregation, a ninety day deprivation of earned credit time and demotion from credit class 2 to credit class 3. The hearing officer imposed the sanctions because of the seriousness, frequency and nature of the offense, Mr. Adams' attitude and demeanor during the hearing, and the degree to which the violation disrupted the security of the facility.

On December 20, 2013, Mr. Adams appealed to the Facility Head. On January 8, 2014, the Facility Head denied the appeal. Mr. Adams' appeal to the Appeal Review Officer was denied on January 17, 2014.

C. Analysis

Mr. Adams challenges the disciplinary action taken against him, arguing 1) the evidence card was improperly completed; 2) Department of Correction ("DOC") policy was ...


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